Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight
Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight.
At age 31, Craig McCulloch is now finding himself surprisingly passionate about Australian Football.
Born in Stirling, Scotland, the man from Bo’ness is a home carer by trade and a devoted teammate come training to the rising West Lothian Eagles.
Like many of those who try Aussie Rules in Europe, Craig got involved through his mate Benji who took him along to his inaugural footy training.
“I initially only went along for some fitness. I continued to go to training but didn’t think the sport was for me. I contemplated giving up and not going back, but I spoke to Benji and he advised me to speak to Mikey Allen about my concerns to which I did and he had a chat with me during 1 training session and I decided to stick it out a bit longer. Once I played my first game I was absolutely hooked on the sport!”
His first ever game was definitely an experience that Craig will remember.
It made him realise that to really appreciate the sport of AFL, an individual must take part in a proper AFL match.
“My first ever game I just thought to myself… Wow! This is amazing. There is only so much you can do at training but when you get into an actual game it’s completely different and I will tell this to anyone starting out in this sport that play a full game before you decide if it’s for you or not.”
As a member of the West Lothian Eagles outfit, Craig is optimistic about the club’s future in Scotland. With the side to enter the SARFL in 2019, Craig is looking forward to showcasing his talents in a variety of positions on the footy field.
“I am a versatile player and am willing to play any position the team needs me to play in but if giving the choice I prefer full/half back. Moving forward I’m just trying to improve my skills at the game as I have not been playing the sport for 6 months so still making mistakes and have so much to learn. But I’m willing to give it my all and improve as much as I can.”
As a player who is now understanding the game and the tactics behind the sometimes complicated sport, Craig is now encouraging his children to take up the sport to keep active and healthy, while teaching them valuable life lessons about the culture that team sport can bring to a community.
“After I took up this sport I was advised to take my 2 son’s to training Callum (17) and Dominic (16) if nothing else to get them out the house and get some exercise and they both seem to be enjoying it with the main aim to improve them as players at a young age and hopefully they progress to the highest level.”
“Just recently my boys have participated in training and are goal umpires and runners for the team which gives them a sense on belonging to the team. Since the West Lothian Eagles started a women’s team, I have taken my daughter Hollye (13) along and she absolutely loves it. I love that our team is very family orientated and they’re always wanting to get families involved in some way to keep them a part of the team.”
Now that the whole McCulloch family is involved with the sport, it’s fair to say Craig and his kids are staying with the AFL Europe community for a very long and without a doubt very successful haul.
Is there someone at your club with an outstanding football story that deserves to be recognised? Get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org